The IndieWeb is a community of personal websites, connected by simple standards. These follow the principles of publishing content at your own domain name and owning your data.
Indiekit uses these standards to help you publish content to your own website and then share it on popular social networks.
I love that the fediverse exists. And I have the utmost respect for the gargantuan effort that’s going into it.
And yet, I am also very concerned17 that the design decisions that have been made incentivise centralisation, not decentralisation. I implore us to acknowledge this, to mitigate the risks as best we can, to strive to learn from our mistakes, and to do even better going forward.
So to the ActivityPub and Mastodon folks, I say:
Consider me your canary in the coal mine…
The big issue according to Balkan is the incentive to join an instance that seemingly absolves users of such problems, this however just kicks the can down the road. For Balkan, instances should be limited from getting too big and ideally we should all have our own instance linked to our own domain, the ultimate form of verification.
I have tinkered with using my site as an ‘instance of one‘. Although I liked the idea, I could not get it all to work how I would prefer, so I persisted with my POSSE approach. This also have me thinking about Jim Groom’s reflection on life in the cloud. I guess the reality is that there is always a cost.
Maybe Webmention can be thought of as less of a “building block” and more like a glue. You can do so many things with glue, like combining a bunch of planks into a table, or building a parade float sculpture with papier-mâché, or doctoring the photo in a passport!
Venture capital backed corporate social media has cleverly inserted themselves between us and our interactions with each other. They privilege some voices not only over others, but often at the expense of others and only to their benefit. We have been developing a new vocabulary for these actions with phrases like “surveillance capitalism”, “data mining”, and analogizing human data as the new “oil” of the 21st century. The IndieWeb is attempting to remove these barriers, many of them complicated, but not insurmountable, technical ones, so that we can have a healthier set of direct interactions with one another that more closely mirrors our in person interactions. By having choice and the ability to move between a larger number of service providers there is an increasing pressure to provide service rather than the growing levels of continued abuse and monopoly we’ve become accustomed to.
A simple bookmarklet to find the RSS feed for a YouTube channel. On a YouTube channel’s page, like this one, tap the bookmarklet and you’ll be redirected to its RSS feed.
I have unticked the boxes now, but am now wondering what would be the best way to reinstate my self-pings. Maybe I am misusing the technology, but I use self pings to link to and build upon past posts.
IndieWeb isn’t about getting Webmentions working, or being able to post to your blog from an app on your phone (as happy as it makes me to be able to do so). The technology is fascinating, but if you’re focused on the technology, you’re missing the point.
IndieWeb is for simplifying. It’s for putting your thoughts out into the world in a space that you own, and thus, don’t have to worry about. Your presence on your own website can’t be shadowbanned or cancelled, your data sold – there are no arbitrary terms to run afoul of except your own. It’s a weight off your chest that you didn’t know was there until you publish for the first time and see it, live and of your own making, on your own domain.
In regards to following the firehose, I have discussed was of Chris Aldrich. From your points, I guess I should.. However, I am yet to set up a page like
As a side note to all this, I also wondered about what it might mean to capture absolutely everything to form a deeper appreciate my presence on the web, but I long gave up that hope. I read way more than I respond to.
I’ve come to believe that the movement as it is currently structured can never move into widespread acceptance, that it is both target blind and exclusionary, and that, as a consequence, I don’t want to devote any more of my time to it.
This reminds me of Clive Thompson’s piece on the limits to open source development:
Why didn’t the barn-raising model pan out? As Eghbal notes, it’s partly that the random folks who pitch in make only very small contributions, like fixing a bug. Making and remaking code requires a lot of high-level synthesis—which, as it turns out, is hard to break into little pieces. It lives best in the heads of a small number of people.
As well as the discussion about what is really meant by a ‘domain of one’s own‘:
When I created a domain, it didn’t become mine. Basically
- I don’t own the domain name. I pay for it every year. That looks like rent
- I don’t own the actual hosting. I pay Reclaim (whom I love and trust) for shared hosting because I assume they will do a better job of the hardware/backup etc
Having a home is more than a matter of shelter, it’s the presentation of a certain kind of survivorship, assessed in cultural competence, the assertion of literacy, the visible privilege of know-how. And like home ownership, domain ownership is the practice of insiders, survivors, using the skills and languages that flex their cultural power by asking to be taken entirely for granted, not just in terms of what appears on the screen but increasingly in terms of the coding that lies beneath it.
It was also Interesting listening to Chapter 17 of Martin Weller’s 25 Years of EdTech and his discussion of Connectivism. One of the points made, taken from a paper written in 2011, was that the cost of connecting people has collapsed. However, what is overlooked is that there is still a cost. Maybe it is a part of the business model to provide a basic level for free (see Edublogs) or maybe it is goodwill to provide such services, such as Granary or Aperture. However, this is also free as the payment comes through our data. Although there are criticisms of the IndieWeb mimicking or being privilaged, I wonder what other business model there is that does not fit the same model.
To be honest, although I am in education and work with technology, my current role involves supporting schools with reporting and attendance. A far cry from Higher Education and being technology integrator. My involvement is something of a passion project. I like Brian Lamb and D’arcy Norman discussion of the ‘edtech refugee’ on the 25 Years of Ed Tech podcast, maybe I am a IndieWeb refugee?
In addition to this, the longer I spend hanging around the IndieWeb, the less technical I feel. Although I know more now, I think I know a lot more about what I do not know. Still need to finish reading Smashing WordPress Beyond the Blog that you recommended.
If you (or anyone else) think there is something I can help with, feel free to let me know. Just wanted it known that I am still driving my low down model, used by a little old lady just once a week to blog.
I am sure I just need to spend some more time down this rabbit hole, but right now I have hit the limit to my knowledge.
The larger point I want to emphasize is that we don’t have to settle for the current configuration of our online existence. There’s nothing inevitable about a setup in which a few mega-companies own all of our data and therefore dictate our digital culture. We can do more than boycotts and legislative threats.